The government has taken the first step toward determining whether the pictures of celebrities and actresses involved in the internet nude pictures scandal are indecent or obscene
It has sent copies of Next magazine and Oriental Sunday to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification.
The move came as the Broadcasting Authority was yesterday flooded with complaints after a pop singer alleged to have been involved in the pictures appeared in a television show for charity.
Gillian Chung Yan-tung of the Cantopop duo Twins, one of seven women alleged to have appeared in the nude and compromising pictures, made her first public performance on Sunday night in a TVB fund-raising show.
Shortly after, the Broadcasting Authority received more than 1,900 complaints saying the singer should not have been asked to appear in a charity show when her participation or otherwise in the nude pictures saga had not been determined.
Chung had this month apologized to her fans and the public, saying she had been "naive and silly" - but without confirming or denying her role.
The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, the agency that had sent copies of the magazines for classification, said it did so after receiving 202 complaints about the internet saga since February 9. Issue 936 of Next had published a special with a cover entitled "A full documentary of Edison Chen's obscene pictures tempest."
Three nude pictures, purportedly of three female artistes, were published on the cover of issue 531 of Oriental Sunday.
TELA suspects the two magazines may have been in violation of the Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, and wants a ruling from the tribunal.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma Si- hang said yesterday that, just like many parents, he was distressed by the whole saga. "I am concerned about the impact this case will have on youngsters."
Ma said the case has brought to light shortcomings in the Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance and that a review was necessary.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Association of Parents said yesterday it had received inquiries from 10 parents who found it embarrassing dealing with children asking them about the nude pictures on the internet.
Actor/singer Edison Chen Koon-hei is still out of Hong Kong, having reportedly gone to Vancouver after spending two weeks in Boston. Peter Lam Kin-ngok, chairman of East Asia Entertainment to which Chen belongs, said he had talked to Chen on the phone.
Lam said Chen will return to Hong Kong soon, but refused to comment on reports he could be in danger if he did return. The Standard's sister newspaper SingTao Daily reported Chen had delayed his return as he was negotiating with police for round-the-clock protection.